George Jones should have been on top of the world in the mid-'70s.
He had transformed himself from a wild crew-cut hillbilly honky tonker into one of the finest ballad singers of the 20th century, and his top-of-the-charts duets and tours with his wife Tammy Wynette had made them the biggest show in country music, due in no small part to the media's constant day-to-day attention to all of it.
But behind it, Jones was awash in an addiction to drugs and alcohol and on a rough downward spiral that would eventually claim his marriage and send him tumbling even deeper as the decade wore on.
The amazing thing is, none of it affected his singing and his ability to completely enter a song and make it his own.
This welcome set combines two fine Epic albums from this period, 1974's The Grand Tour and his first post-divorce album, 1976's Alone Again, on a single disc, and together they make an absolute treasure chest of great performances from Jones, including "She'll Love the One She's With," "A Drunk Can't Be a Man," "Stand on My Own Two Knees," "Her Name Is...," "The Grand Tour," and "Right Now I'd Come Back and Melt in Her Arms," among others, each of which offers proof of why Jones is a consensus choice as the greatest pure singer in the whole history of country music.